Monday, May 30, 2011

Headlines for May 12 - May 18

A Stand For Justice

Politics Obama announces steps to speed US oil production
Facing continued public unhappiness over gas prices, President Barack Obama is directing his administration to ramp up U.S. oil production by extending existing leases in the Gulf of Mexico and off Alaska's coast and holding more frequent lease sales in a federal petroleum reserve in Alaska.

President Urged to Seek Congressional Approval for Military Action in Libya
Today, members of The Constitution Project's bipartisan War Powers Committee, including its co-chairs, former Members of Congress Mickey Edwards (R-OK) and David Skaggs (D-CO), as well as war powers expert Louis Fisher, urged President Obama to immediately seek congressional approval if he plans to continue America's military operations in Libya.

Iran: Bushehr nuclear power plant 'successfully launched'
Iran's nuclear power plant in Bushehr has been put online, Iranian Foreign Minister said on Wednesday, adding that the plant would become fully operational within several weeks.

Israel Hunts Syria Infiltrators After Day of Bloodshed
In Lebanon, Syria and the Palestinian territories, people gathered to mourn the 14 people killed when Israeli troops opened fire on thousands of protesters who sought to breach its northern borders.

Israel burnishes missile shield as Mideast churns
Partly funded by the United States, Arrow III is envisaged as the future Israeli bulwark against Iran and Syria, with shorter–range interceptors providing protection against rockets favored by neighboring Lebanese and Palestinian guerrillas.

Treasury to tap pensions to keep goverment afloat
The Obama administration will begin to tap federal retiree programs to help fund operations after the government loses its ability today to borrow more money from the public, adding urgency to efforts in Washington to fashion a compromise over the debt.

Read more:

Warrants Let Agents Enter Homes Without Owner Knowing
These search warrants don’t involve knocking on doors or any type of warning at all. Delayed-notice search warrants, or "sneak-and-peek" warrants, allow federal agents to enter your home without telling you they’ve been there until months later.

After 2 Months, No End in Sight to Libyan Air Campaign

Iraq dossier drawn up to make case for war – intelligence officer
In hitherto secret evidence to the Chilcot inquiry, Major General Michael Laurie said: "We knew at the time that the purpose of the dossier was precisely to make a case for war, rather than setting out the available intelligence, and that to make the best out of sparse and inconclusive intelligence the wording was developed with care."

15 Syrian army personnel killed in clashes: paper
The death toll of Syrian army members and security forces killed in clashes with "armed terrorist gangs" in the towns of Tal Kalakh and Daraahas has risen to 15, the state-run al-Baath daily reported Wednesday.

Tea party godfather Ron Paul running for president
As far back as 2007, long before people were evoking the fabled Boston Tea Party to symbolize their disgust with an overtaxing central government, Ron Paul was hosting a "Tea Party Fundraiser" aboard a shrimp boat near Galveston.

Organizer and Paul campaign volunteer Elizabeth Day remembers that supporters wore period dress and rolled fake barrels of tea into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Can't stand the fact that the mainstream media only grudgingly give Paul attention - and they continue to tar and feather him as a 'nut' when they do. His views are not offbase, not by a long shot. His views are right on par with the Founding Fathers of this nation. Unfortunately, he stands alone on Capitol Hill with his beliefs. So comparatively speaking, compared to the rest on Capitol Hill that are beholden to foreign and corporate interests - sure, his views I guess could be seen as radical. As radical as the views that our Founding Fathers had in their day.

Corporate Demands, Federal ‘Reform,’ Keep Shifting Healthcare Costs to Workers
GE’s demands are particularly obscene because it is sitting on $25 billion in savings and is threatening to close more U.S. plants, i.e. move more jobs to Mexico, China and elsewhere. And they're particularly dangerous because GE is modeling bad behavior for other corporations to emulate.

House panel authorizes nearly $700 billion in Defense spending

House Dems protest GOP's plans for permanent war against terror
"By declaring a global war against nameless individuals, organizations and nations 'associated' with the Taliban and al Qaeda, as well as those playing a supporting role in their efforts, the Detainee Security Act would appear to grant the president near unfettered authority to initiate military action around the world without further congressional approval," Democrats wrote. "Such authority must not be ceded to the president without careful deliberation from Congress."

ACLU Sues Homeland Security Over Seizure Of Activist's Computer

With heavy hearts, Christians leave Baghdad

Those Irrepressible Neocons
Jennifer Rubin, on the other hand, was just one of those plugging along in Kingdom Neocon (she was a contributing editor to Commentary and its blog, Contentions) until recently, when the neocon editor of the Washington Post editorial page, Fred Hiatt, plucked her from obscurity and brought her to the Post.

Beyond their Commentary roots, the two are almost ideologically identical. And that means that they are both driven, above all other considerations, by dedication to the concept of Greater Israel (a concept which is taken more seriously inside the Beltway than it is in Israel itself).

....So let's not hear from this crowd about the poor Iranians or Syrians or Libyans, or whatever other group they suddenly profess to care about. Better they should think about those thousands of Americans, along with the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, who perished as a consequence of the horrific war they enthusiastically agitated for. Don't they have enough to atone for without adding more deadly U.S. military interventions? Beautiful piece.

Pollard Again By Philip Giraldi
The Lobby has been active lately in the lead-up to the AIPAC conference. A letter calling on Obama to free Pollard has been circulating since January and has attracted a number of endorsements including George Shultz. Last week 36 congressmen signed on to a letter originated by Rep. Steve Israel (no irony intended) calling on the Turkish government to stop the next aid flotilla planned for Gaza, which will likely depart next month. The letter implies that there will be dire consequences, and rightly so, if the ships are allowed to sail. Today the White House press secretary all but commended Israel for killing twenty protesters along the Syrian and Lebanese borders during demonstrations on Sunday, praising the “restraint” and noting that it was a proper remedy for “unauthorized border crossing.”

Arab Spring Fails to Improve U.S. Image
for the most part, Obama’s handling of issues in the Muslim world, including the recent uprisings in the Middle East, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Iran and Afghanistan, are met with disapproval.

Israel’s Security Elite Joins the Opposition
It probably won’t surprise you to hear that the leaders of Israel’s security establishment, the people who’ve led the fight against the state’s enemies for decades, are more frightened now than they’ve been in a long time. You might be shocked, though, to hear what’s got them in a panic.

'Catastrophic' picture emerges of Syrian town
At least eight people were killed Sunday in Talkalakh – the most recent casualties from a government crackdown that already has killed 850 people nationwide since mid–March, according to the National Organization for Human Rights in Syria. A town of about 70,000 residents, Talkalakh has been under a military siege since last week.

The Jewish Roots of Madoff's Crime
Madoff’s $50 billion fraud, which landed him in jail for the rest of his life; decimated hundreds, perhaps thousands, of investors, and left his own family in ruins, was not a Jewish crime — it was too far-flung and globalized to deserve that narrow description. It was a crime perpetuated by someone who happened to be Jewish. But now, two and a half years after Madoff’s arrest, Henriques’s work makes it evident that this was a crime enabled by Jewish businessmen like Chais, Shapiro, Levy and Picower; by Jewish power brokers like Ezra Merkin, and by Jewish institutions that gave into the allure of easy, reliable, bountiful money without doing the due diligence they owed their clients, donors and causes.

Medvedev says Russia 'won't back' UN Syria resolution
Britain, France and Germany have been pushing for the UN Security Council to condemn Syria's crackdown on pro-democracy protests. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has been using tanks and troops to crush the dissent.

France says gaining support for U.N. Syria resolution
French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said on Tuesday France and Britain were close to getting nine votes for a resolution on Syria at the U.N. Security Council, but Russia and China were still threatening to use their veto.

U.S. accuses Syria of inciting Israel border clashes
White House spokesman Jay Carney expressed regret for the loss of life in confrontations on Israel's frontiers with Syria, Lebanon and Gaza on Sunday but said Israel "has the right to prevent unauthorized crossing at its borders." We're still Israel's bitch.

The People vs. Goldman Sachs
A Senate committee has laid out the evidence. Now the Justice Department should bring criminal charges

Osama bin Laden Transfigured by Philip Giraldi
amidst the euphoria over the death of America’s great enemy, many Americans have, perhaps surprisingly to some, not embraced the more war all the time agenda and instead are seeing the death of bin Laden as an opportunity to restore some measure of normality and sanity to our fractured foreign and defense policies. President Obama has scored a great success in the eyes of most Americans

Scores of Syrians flee violence to Lebanon

US, EU ready new sanctions on Syria

US Middle Class Disappearing Into Abyss?

One Lawman With the Guts to Go After Wall Street
Eric Schneiderman will probably fail, as did his predecessors in that job; the honest sheriff doesn’t last long in a town that houses the Wall Street casino. But decent folks should be cheering him on. Despite a mountain of evidence of robo-signed mortgage contracts, deceitful mortgage-based securities and fraudulent foreclosures, the banks were going to be able to cut their potential losses to what was, for them, a minuscule amount.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Headlines for May 5 - May 11

A Stand For Justice

Morale plunges among troops in Afghanistan
“We’re an Army that’s in uncharted territory here,” said Gen. Peter Chiarelli, Army vice chief of staff, who has focused on combat stress. “We have never fought for this long with an all-volunteer force that’s 1 percent of the population.”

Bin Laden death sparks new talk over Patriot Act

Thousands of Syrians Take to Streets for ‘Day of Defiance’
Syrian security forces opened fire on hundreds of protesters on the outskirts of the capital Friday as thousands of people joined demonstrations across the country calling for an end to President Bashar Assad's regime, witnesses and activists said.

The cost of bin Laden: $3 trillion over 15 years
By conservative estimates, bin Laden cost the United States at least $3 trillion over the past 15 years, counting the disruptions he wrought on the domestic economy, the wars and heightened security triggered by the terrorist attacks he engineered, and the direct efforts to hunt him down.

Let the Patriot Act Expire by Philip Giraldi
Broadly speaking, the Patriot Act was designed to make it easier for law enforcement to investigate US citizens and permanent residents by easing legal restraints on records and activities that were hitherto considered private or required a judge's order to access. The Act has enjoyed bipartisan support since 2001. Amen.

Pakistan pays U.S. lobbyists to deny it helped bin Laden
Alarmed by lawmakers' demands to cut off billions of dollars of U.S. aid after bin Laden was found living in a Pakistani safe house for six years, President Asif Ali Zardari has ordered a full–court press to quell mounting accusations that it helped the al Qaeda leader avoid capture.

Oil prices higher after jobs report, gas dips

Oil drops below $100 on worry of weaker US demand
Oil plunged nearly 9 percent to settle below $100 per barrel. Investors who had ridden a months–long rally fled the market Thursday because of concerns about weakening demand for fuel in the U.S.

Obama Administration Plans Corporate Tax Cut In Year Of Record Profits
In the first quarter of 2011, Exxon-Mobil, the world’s biggest and most profitable corporation, raked in $10.7 billion. That’s a 69 percent increase over the same quarter last year, and the highest quarterly profit since 2008. This is happening during a time when citizens are searching underneath the couch cushions to scrape together enough change in order to fill their gas tanks so they can go file for unemployment benefits.

Exxon also happens to be one of US Uncut’s top targets. The oil giant uses offshore subsidiaries in the Caribbean to avoid paying taxes in the United States. The company paid zero U.S. income tax in 2009, while enjoying billions in taxpayer-funded subsidies and its CEO’s total compensation reached over $29 million Corporate and foreign interests own this country, folks.

Child reported killed as Syrian forces crack down

Pakistan's army warns US not to stage more raids
Pakistan's army broke its silence Thursday over the U.S. commando raid that killed Osama bin Laden, acknowledging its own "shortcomings" in efforts to find the al–Qaida leader but threatening to review cooperation with Washington if there is another similar violation of Pakistani sovereignty.

30 killed in Syria protests, activist says

AL-KHALIL/HEBRON: The dayafter Bin Laden died.
I was in Hebron on September 11, 2001. I remember old men approaching me on the street, eyes full of tears, telling me that God would help me and my fellow citizens. Other Palestinian friends called us, sobbing, as they described what they were watching on TV......I asked a Hebronite friend what most Palestinians in Hebron were saying about Bin Laden's death. Most, he said, do not care. A small minority were upset about the killing. A much larger minority, himself included, thought Bin Laden deserved his fate. A member of the Christian Peacekeeper Teams in Hebron offers Palestinian perspectives that you won't find in mainstream American media

Former Mossad chief: Israel air strike on Iran 'stupidest thing I have ever heard'
When asked about what would happen in the aftermath of an Israeli attack Dagan said that: "It will be followed by a war with Iran. It is the kind of thing where we know how it starts, but not how it will end."

Israel defense minister: Iran won't bomb us
Israel's defense minister says even if Iran develops nuclear arms, it is unlikely to bomb Israel.

Bin Laden vows no US security in final tape: website
Addressing US President Barack Obama, he said: "America will not be able to dream of security until we live in security in Palestine. It is unfair that you live in peace while our brothers in Gaza live in insecurity."

"Accordingly, and with the will of God, our attacks will continue against you as long as your support for Israel continues," he warned in a message posted on, a conduit for Al–Qaeda communications. Wait, I thought they 'hated us for our freedoms'?...

Gas prices could slow job growth this year
Average gas prices have risen for 44 straight days. Consumers are spending more to fill the tanks, leaving them with less to spend elsewhere. As a result, many companies are feeling less certain about the economy's health.

'Bin Laden dead long before US raid'
Iran's intelligence minister says the country has reliable information that former head of the al-Qaeda terrorist group Osama bin Laden died of disease some time ago.

Kucinich Calls for Real Troop Reductions from Afghanistan, Renews Call to End War
“It is time to start taking care of things here at home: health care, child care, education, social security, job security, retirement security and creating a manufacturing policy that focuses on steel, automotive, aerospace and rebuilding our national infrastructure,” said Kucinich.

'The Worst I've Seen By Far:' Budget Cuts Meet Poverty in the Heartland

House Republicans Shred Constitution With Backdoor Proposal of Permanent War

Dem Senators Defend Big Oil Against Own Party
Democratic Sens. Mark Begich and Mary Landrieu, who represent Alaska and Louisiana, respectively, each took to the Senate floor Wednesday to decry their party's attempt to strip tax breaks from the top oil companies.

Exxon Mobil Dodges the Tax Man
More striking still is the discrepancy between Exxon Mobil's rates and those of most American breadwinners. The company’s effective rate of 17.6 percent is nearly 16 percent below the average individual federal tax rate, which according to the Congressional Budget Office was 20.4 percent as of 2007.

Iraq Withdrawal Date For U.S. Troops May Be Pushed Back Beyond 2011
Pentagon spokesperson Elizabeth Robbins confirmed to The Huffington Post that U.S. forces could stay beyond 2011 to help the Iraqi Security Forces fill the "gaps" in their operations.

Russia slams Libya contact group
Russia yesterday criticised a Western-led grouping that has pledged aid to the Libyan rebels fighting Muammar Gaddafi’s forces, warning that it must not seek to usurp the authority of the UN Security Council.

Pakistan Military Knew About Bin Laden Raid Well In Advance Of Attack

Record Number of Americans Targeted by National Security Letters
The latest report to Congress on the Justice Department’s use of foreign intelligence surveillance powers has just been released, and it shows a truly stunning increase in the number of Americans whose sensitive phone, Internet, and banking records were obtained by the FBI — without judicial oversight — pursuant to National Security Letters

Congressional Staffers Fear Retaliation if They Displease Lobbyists, New Public Citizen Survey Shows

Vanishing American Footprint by Patrick J. Buchanan
Why is America’s footprint shrinking in that part of the world?

First, Americans have never been less popular there, and one demand of every revolution is for a new government, independent of the United States, that will defend the national sovereignty.

Second, we are broke. We can no longer afford the bases. We can no longer afford the wars. We can no longer afford the aid.

Ex-Israeli spymaster opposes Iran attack
Former spymaster Meir Dagan told a weekend conference that an effective attack on Iran would be difficult because Iranian nuclear facilities are scattered and mobile, Israeli media reported.

Dagan also cautioned that a strike would be liable to trigger war with Iran and possibly Syria.

Doing bin Laden by Philip Giraldi

John Bolton: I care about things besides bombing Iran
Bolton is, of course, a single-issue guy. His issue is bombing Iran. That is the only reason why anyone has expressed any interest in him as a candidate: He is the man who promises to bomb Iran. Every foreign policy issue of our time looks like a nail to John Bolton, and his hammer is bombing Iran. John Bolton = Israel-firster and neocon extraordinaire.

Your Taxes Fund Anti-Muslim Hatred
The poison of this rhetoric was on display a few days ago when a trustee of City University of New York blocked the playwright Tony Kushner, who is Jewish, from receiving an honorary doctorate because of Kushner’s criticism of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. The trustee, Jeffrey S. Wiesenfeld, labeling Kushner “an extremist,” told The New York Times that the Palestinians “who worship death for their children are not human.”

Syrian shelling kills 18, evokes 1982 crackdown
The Syrian army shelled residential areas and unleashed gunmen Wednesday, and a human rights group said at least 18 people were killed, including an 8–year–old boy. The shelling of neighborhoods evoked memories of the Assad regime's brutal, 40–year legacy of crushing dissent. No action on the part of America is taken because Israel wants Assad to stay in power, as opposed to the action we took with Libya for its gunning down of protesters.

Osama’s Undying Reach by Patrick J. Buchanan
Some yet argue that Osama and al-Qaida attacked us because they hate our freedoms. Why, then, did they fight the Russians? Did they hate the freedoms enjoyed by Soviet citizens in Leonid Brezhnev’s time?

In his 1998 declaration of war, Osama gave three reasons. Americans, he said, had deployed their infidel troops on sacred Saudi soil. Americans were strangling a crushed Iraqi people with murderous sanctions. Americans were enabling Zionists to oppress and rob Palestinian Arabs of their lands. His reasons for attacking us were available online at one point. But most Americans still believe - because they've been willfully deceived by government leaders - that we were attacked because of our freedoms. Lie.

War is a Sticky Business by Philip Giraldi
And just to demonstrate that Washington continues to live in a complete fantasy world, wars four and five just might be hovering on the horizon. Last week Senators John McCain, Joe Lieberman, and Lindsey Graham all called on the Obama Administration to get tough with Syria. They had better check first with their minders in Israel since it is by no means clear whether Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu would welcome the removal of Syrian President Bashar Assad, who is, at least, predictable compared to whatever kind of regime would succeed him. And then there is Iran, always the enemy of choice, with a constant drumbeat from Tel Aviv and Washington.

Ron Paul raises more than $1 million in 24 hours

Petraeus: Can He Tell It Straight? By Ray McGovern
Iran will continue to loom large as a target for intelligence analysis during Petraeus’s tenure at CIA. What is disconcerting on that front is that Petraeus has been eager to serve up “intelligence” to portray Iran in the worst light. One rather strange but instructive example comes to mind. It involved a studied, if disingenuous, effort to blame all the troubles in southern Iraq on the “malignant” influence of Iran.......

Though Petraeus’s testimony might strike many of us as a no-brainer, not so for the neocons. They resist any suggestion that Israeli intransigence regarding peace talks on Palestine contributes to the dangers faced by American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan or by the American people from possible acts of terrorism at home.

With Liberty and Justice for… Corporations?
In a statement after the ruling, Deepak Gupta, a lawyer with the public interest group Public Citizen who argued the case on behalf of the Concepcions, called the decision a “crushing blow to American consumers and employees, ruling that companies can ban class actions in the fine print of contracts. Now, whenever you sign a contract to get a cell phone, open a bank account or take a job, you may be giving up your right to hold companies accountable for fraud, discrimination or other illegal practices. Class actions are an essential tool for justice in our society.

Armed gang kill 10 Syrian civilians: state agency
An armed gang shot dead ten Syrian civilian workers on their way back from Lebanon in a bus ambush near the Syrian city of Homs Sunday, the official state news agency said.

Amid Syria's turmoil, Israel sees Assad as the lesser evil
"I prefer the political extremism of Assad over religious extremism," says Ayoub Kara, a parliament member from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party. "We don’t want religious extremism on the border."

The Defeat of the United States by Al Qaeda
The goal is also for the U.S. government, in response, to stay bogged down in endless wars in the Islamic world, radicalizing people there and causing them to see the U.S. as a crusader army — in the meantime wearying and demoralizing the U.S. population and bankrupting the government. To paraphrase the late Mr. Bin Laden, it’s only necessary for a couple of brothers with “Al Qaeda” written on a piece of cloth to show themselves in Antarctica, and the President will send Marines to fight the penguins there “so we won’t have to fight them here.”

US Military Support of Foreign Governments Increases Terror Attacks on US Citizens: Study

US-Israeli relations: Obama back on top?
President George W Bush, surrounded by neocon advisers who viewed Arabs the same way the Israeli right did, was happy to conflate 9/11 and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Israelis became us and the Palestinians became al Qaeda. Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian leader who had recognised Israel and worked with Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin to thwart terrorism, instantly became Osama bin Laden.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Headlines for April 28 - May 4

Apologies for the tardiness. I will try and get caught up in the days to follow.

A Stand For Justice

9/11 Victims’ Family Members React to the Killing of Osama Bin Laden

Taliban vow revenge for bin Laden's death

Fears of Qaeda vengeance after U.S. kills Osama
World leaders warned of revenge attacks after Osama bin Laden was killed in a U.S. assault in Pakistan on Monday that brought to a dramatic end the long manhunt for the al Qaeda leader who had become the most powerful symbol of Islamist militancy.

Osama bin Laden raid yields trove of computer data
The assault force of Navy SEALs snatched a trove of computer drives and disks during their weekend raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound, yielding what a U.S. official called “the mother lode of intelligence.”

Read more:

Prosperous but Unequal: OECD Report Spotlights Alarming Trend
Growing by 7.8% last year, the Israeli economy ranked fifth highest in growth among the group’s 34 members. Israel’s growth outstripped that of the United States, Britain, Japan, Germany and France.

Read that again. We are giving Israel BILLIONS of American taxpayer dollars each year. These are not loans. Meanwhile, across America, cities, towns and villages are having to make drastic budget cuts as Israel PROSPERS (at our expense. WHY? Ask your Congressman.

Exxon Profit Up 69 Percent as Gas and Oil Prices Boost Top Five Oil Companies
Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell today reported first-quarter profit increases of 69 percent and 30 percent, respectively, from the same period last year. With rising gas and oil prices, analysts expected the five biggest oil companies -- with Exxon as the largest -- to report that they are swimming in revenue.

Tread lightly on Syria, Russia warns UN Security Council

Gaza demonstrators condemn death of bin Laden
About 25 people holding pictures and posters of bin Laden rallied outside a Gaza City university. The crowd included al–Qaida sympathizers as well as students who said they opposed bin Laden's ideology, but were angry at the U.S. for killing him and consider him a martyr. I will remind you that there are over 1 million Palestinians in Gaza, and another couple million in the West Bank. Predictably, this headline was put on the front page of Yahoo as was the case when in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, the handful of Palestinians passing out candy was aired alongside footage of the carnage. Nah, there's nobody in the media that wants you to hate all Palestinians or anything..

Syria: 4 soldiers killed in attack on army post
Syria's state–run television says "armed terrorists" have attacked a military post in the southern city of Daraa, killing four soldiers and capturing two.

Oil falls below $113 after bin Laden killed

Syrian forces kill 62, U.S. toughens sanctions
A medical source told Reuters soldiers in Deraa killed 19 people when they fired on thousands of protesters descending from nearby villages in a show of solidarity with the southern city where Syria's uprising broke out six weeks ago.

Brotherhood: U.S. troops should now quit Iraq, Afghan
Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood said on Monday that U.S. soldiers should be withdrawn from Afghanistan and Iraq after the killing of Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the September 11 attacks that led to two U.S.–led wars.

Bin Laden's Death: What This Means for Pakistan's ISI
That bin Laden had been living in a specially constructed compound less than an hours' drive from Pakistani military HQ, and in the same town as the country's premier military academy, makes the near constant denials by Pakistan's intelligence agencies that the terror group leader was in the country difficult to swallow.

America’s Middle Class Crisis: The Sobering Facts
The bottom line is simple says Schwenninger: The middle class is shrinking, which threatens the social composition and stability of the world's biggest economy. "I worry that we're becoming a barbell society – a lot of money wealth and power at the top, increasing hollowness at the center, which I think provides the stability and the heart and soul of the society... and then too many people in fear of falling down."

What’s In It for Us, Mr. Obama? by Philip Giraldi
That Washington has become a victim of the internal politics of the Middle East is largely due to manipulation by Israel and its lobby, which has turned all Americans into enablers of Israeli policies, no matter how short-sighted or ill-conceived. It is the US national interest that has been sacrificed in the process. That is the point

....Several congressmen, including Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs committee, and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor explicitly stated their opposition to any reduction in aid to Israel. But the real surprise came in the final spending bill. Israel not only was not cut in its assistance level, it received $205 million in additional funding for its Iron Dome defensive missile development, which competes with US defense firm Raytheon’s Patriot system. Read that excerpt again, folks. As schools are being closed in YOUR towns and cities, we're still shoveling billions to Israel in order for it to continue to pillage and plunder Palestine.

Palestinian factions sign unity deal in Cairo
Abbas said Israel does not wish to see the Palestinians united because it thrives on their divisions. Divide and conquer is a strategy employed in the Middle East to lessen any threats, and so too is it employed here in the US. If everyone is at each other's throats here because of party line issues, then they aren't paying attention to the real problem in this country.

Israel Acquires Additional Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules Lockheed Martin
Israel ordered its first C-130J in April 2010 and will receive that aircraft in spring 2013. The next two aircraft will be delivered in late 2013 and late 2014 respectively. The contract also covers a number of items to meet Israel’s unique operational requirements. The Israeli Air Force’s new Super Hercules are the longer fuselage or "stretched" variant of the C-130J. At US taxpayers' expense, no doubt.

Iranian state TV carries report of Israeli build-up
Iranian state television ran a report Monday saying Israeli military aircraft were massing at a U.S. air base in Iraq for a strike on Iran.

Iran: US should leave Mideast with bin Laden death
The United States has no excuse to keep troops in the Middle East after killing al–Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, a senior Iranian official said Monday.

Osama bin Laden's death won't end Afghan mission, U.S. and NATO officials say

US Silences on the Arab Spring are Deafening
While Washington intervened in Libya to protect civilians from Muammar Gaddafi's attacks, it's responding to uprisings in Bahrain, Yemen, and Iraq with a particular quiescence. The Obama administration has hardly said a peep about the need for democracy in Saudi Arabia or the other oil-rich states of the Gulf, even as those regimes are cracking down on the small but growing number of democracy activists in their midst.

Pressure Builds to End Afghan War
A weariness about the Afghanistan war had set in well before bin Laden’s killing. A March poll by ABC News and The Washington Post found that nearly two-thirds of those responding no longer think the war is worth fighting.

FBI using surveillance software to track suspects online
The documents show that software called the Computer and Internet Protocol Address Verifier (CIPAV) was used by the FBI since at least 2001. The software allows the FBI to collect a variety of information from a computer every time it connects to the Internet, including the IP address, Media Access Control (MAC) address, open communication ports, list of the programs running, URLs visited, and more.

Forty years of hurt
THE dollar’s recent decline has taken it to new lows.

US aims financial hits at Syrian officials, Iran
President Barack Obama authorized the action for repression and human rights abuses committed by Syrian authorities seeking to quell six weeks of protests. Activists say more than 500 people have been killed, 42 on Friday alone.

5 banks fail in Fla., Ga., Mich.; makes 39 in '11
The FDIC expects the cost of resolving failed banks to total around $52 billion from 2010 through 2014.

IAEA chief: Syria tried to build nuclear reactor
Suggesting that Amano had erred in making the public comments, the IAEA later put out a statement that he "did not say that the IAEA had reached the conclusion that the site was definitely a nuclear reactor."

Cue Ride of the Valkyries. Ben Bernanke is pre-flighting the helicopter. He explained today it’s become necessary to Destroy the Dollar in Order to Save It

Constant Conservative Ron Paul
Paul’s conservative consistency remains true, even when—and perhaps especially when—his fellow conservatives disagree with him. When conservatives attack Paul for his non-interventionist foreign policy views, the Texas congressman is quick to remind them that it is mathematically impossible to reduce the debt or deficits without addressing Pentagon spending. Cutting NPR, Planned Parenthood and earmarks will do nothing to effectively reduce the debt, no matter how much each might excite conservatives emotionally.

Middle East politics at play in passport dispute
when the mother asked that her son's passport and other documents indicate that he was born in Israel, State Department officials refused, citing longstanding U.S. policy to refrain from expressing an official view about Jerusalem's status. Israel has proclaimed the once–divided city as its capital; the U.S. and most nations do not recognize Jerusalem as the capital.

A lawsuit followed. The dispute over Menachem's passport, a mix of the thorny politics of the Middle East and a fight between Congress and the president over primacy in foreign policy, has landed at the Supreme Court. The justices could say as early as Monday whether they will hear the case.
Another waste of taxpayer dollars.

Mike Huckabee for President 2012 What His Holocaust Gaffe Reveals - The Daily Beast
Huckabee usually gets away with this sort of thing because he is pro-Israel, if by pro-Israel one means unequivocally supporting Israeli irredentism. Unlike the majority of American Jews, he opposes a two-state solution, and in February he said Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem should be resettled in “a territory that [is] in the hands of Muslims, in the hands of Arabs,” which might make him the first modern American presidential aspirant to openly champion ethnic cleansing.

...Huckabee even leads group tours of evangelicals to Israel for about $4,500 a person; naturally, one of the stops is Megiddo, or, in Greek, Armageddon He sounds like a real genius...

Death in the Desert by Philip Giraldi
I am not suggesting for a second that the recent bombing is in any way faked, but it is easy to forget what Ghadafi is really like and what he is capable of.

Is Israel's Rightwing in Eric Cantor's District?
Cantor is listed on as the top recipient of campaign money from "pro-Israel" groups in the U.S. House of Representatives, having taken in over $200,000. These groups, most of them affiliated with AIPAC, dump tens of millions of dollars into U.S. elections each cycle. And they certainly appear to get what they pay for.

Surprise, Surprise! Iraq War Was About Oil by Ray McGovern
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair spoke publicly about Israel’s input into the all-important Bush-Blair deliberations on Iraq in Crawford, Texas, in April 2002. Inexplicably, Blair slipped up on his propensity for hiding important facts from the public and told some truth, though his indiscretion got little attention in America’s FCM. Blair said:

“As I recall that [April 2002] discussion, it was less to do with specifics about what we were going to do on Iraq or, indeed, the Middle East, because the Israel issue was a big, big issue at the time. I think, in fact, I remember, actually, there may have been conversations that we had even with Israelis, the two of us [Bush and Blair], whilst we were there. So that was a major part of all this.”

Panic From the Houses of Congress and Aipac?
Netanyahu, the conferees were told, wants Congress to flex its muscle with the White House and deliver a strong message to President Obama that his political future is tied to Israel’s. Hence the current “America needs Israel more than ever stupid!” campaign wafting from the Israel Lobby across the talk radio airwaves.

Syrians protest from rooftops after army action

Mission Accomplished
This is the perfect moment for the president to declare victory in the Global War on Terror (I’m ready to play along) and announce our expedited withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan.

US to examine possible sanctions against Venezuela
Rep. Connie Mack, R-Fla, who is the Chairman of the House Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, has accused Venezuela of violating the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions Accountability and Disinvestment Act of 2010 imposed by the United States against Iran

10 States Where Pensions Are Running Out of Money

World is Drowning in Corporate fraud
Two years after the biggest financial crisis in history, fueled by unscrupulous behavior by the biggest banks on Wall Street, not a single financial leader has faced jail. When companies are fined for malfeasance, their shareholders, not their CEOs and managers, pay the price. The fines are always a tiny fraction of the ill-gotten gains, implying to Wall Street that corrupt practices have a solid rate of return.

Bills would transfer oversight of terror cases
A bill in the House of Representatives, sponsored by Rep. Bobby Shilling, R-Ill., would require terrorism suspects, including those arrested in the United States, to be placed in military custody unless the Defense secretary rules otherwise.

Have We Forgotten 9/11?
Government officials now say there are less than 100 Al-Qaeda members in Afghanistan where we have 100,000 troops. We now know Saddam Hussein had nothing to with Bin Laden and yet 50,000 troops remain in Iraq. Prominent hawks like Sen. John McCain are calling for more intervention in Libya and relatively new hawks like Sen. Marco Rubio want to see stronger U.S. action in Syria. Both senators also believe we should stay in Iraq and Afghanistan indefinitely. None of this has anything to do with fighting Al-Qaeda.

Let’s Declare Victory
The most profound effect of bin Laden’s death will be on Americans. Since September 11, 2001, we have waged two (three?) wars in the name of stopping bin Laden’s brand of Islamic terrorism. This is as close to a clear cut victory that we are ever going to get. That also makes it out best chance of getting American soldiers out of Afghanistan.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Headlines for April 21 - April 27

Apologies for the tardiness. I will try and get caught up in the days to follow.

A Stand For Justice

Wall Street Is Behind High Food-Oil Prices That's Causing Arab Instability
Wall Street speculators raping the world by driving up not just food prices, but oil prices as well.

Second Syrian lawmaker quits in protest at killings
A second Syrian lawmaker told al–Jazeera television on Saturday he was resigning from parliament in protest at the killing of demonstrators.

Syria seals border with Jordan: Amman
Thousands of Syrian troops backed by tanks swept into Daraa, around five kilometres (three miles) from the Jordanian frontier, firing on residents and leaving bodies lying in the streets, activists and witnesses said

Syria targets activists in pinpoint raids
The rising level of violence – more than 120 people dead since Friday – brought calls from the watchdog group Human Rights Watch for a U.N. inquiry. But Sunday's tactics also suggest a government effort to head off the round of protest marches.

US to probe spiking gasoline prices
Pointing the finger at "speculators," Obama said a new Justice Department task force would "root out any cases of fraud or manipulation" that may have caused higher prices. It's about time.

The Libyan mission is creeping, no doubt
Britain is now publicly doing what it expressly said it would not do when the no-fly intervention began: putting boots on the ground in Libya. France is taking similar action.

US to send $25 million of non-lethal equipment to Libya

Feds to Supreme Court: Allow Warrantless GPS Monitoring
The Justice Department, saying “a person has no reasonable expectation of privacy in his movements (.pdf) from one place to another,” is demanding the justices undo a lower court decision that reversed the conviction and life sentence of a cocaine dealer whose vehicle was tracked via GPS for a month without a court warrant.

Iraqis rally against extending U.S. troops presence

Mourners killed as snipers fire on funeral marches
Syrian snipers shot dead at least 12 mourners on Saturday as funeral processions were underway for scores of anti-government protesters killed the previous day, witnesses and activists said.

When Dictators Fall, Who Rises? by Patrick J. Buchanan
The secular despot Saddam Hussein protected the Christians. But the U.S. liberation brought on their greatest calamity since the time of Christ. Scores of thousands of those Iraqi Christians fleeing terrorism and persecution after 2003 made their way to Syria, where they received sanctuary from President Bashar Assad.

Now, as the FT and Washington Post report, the Christians of Syria, whose forebears have lived there since the time of Christ, are facing a pogrom should the Damascus regime fall.

Tanks storm Syrian flashpoint town, 25 dead: activists

Obama sees no magic bullet to push down gas prices
Barack Obama told Americans on Saturday there is no "magic bullet" to bring down high gasoline prices and said he wants to end what he called $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies to oil and gas companies.

Ron Paul Runs

Oil near $113 as damaged fields shut Libya output

Dozens killed in bloodiest day of Syria uprising
Among the dead were a 70–year–old man and two boys ages 7 and 10, Amnesty International said. In the southern town of Izraa, a man ran carrying the body of a young boy, whose hair was matted with blood from a gaping wound on his head, as another child wept and shouted, "My brother!" Footage of the scene was posted on the protest movement's main Facebook pace.

Obama condemns 'outrageous' Syria violence, Iran aid

Iran says it has uncovered second cyber attack
Gholam Reza Jalali, the head of an Iranian military unit in charge of combatting sabotage, said that experts discovered the "espionage virus," which he called "Stars."

European governments condemn Syria
International criticism of Assad's crackdown, now in its sixth week, was initially muted but escalated after the death of 100 protesters on Friday and Assad's decision to storm Deraa, which echoed his father's 1982 suppression of Islamists in Hama.

More than 230 ruling Baath members resign in Syria
Another 203 members of Syria's ruling Baath party announced their resignation Wednesday in protest at the deadly crackdown on protesters, raising the number to 233, according to lists seen by AFP.

Haaretz WikiLeaks exclusive / Netanyahu agreed to join Olmert's government if Israel attacked Iran

Disincentives to Peace: US Weapons Sales to Israel
Israel may be forgiven for failing to realize the current fiscal woes of the United States. After all, U.S. military aid to Israel not only sailed unscathed through last week's passage of the 2011 budget, but reached the record level of $3 billion.

The United States additionally provided Israel $415 million for procurement, research and development of joint U.S.-Israeli missile defense projects, including $205 million to fund Israel's newly-deployed Iron Dome system.

...From 2000-2009, the United States licensed, paid for, and delivered to Israel more than 670 million weapons and related equipment, valued at nearly $19 billion, through three main weapons transfer programs (Foreign Military Sales, Direct Commercial Sales, and Excess Defense Articles). These weapons transfer programs accounted for nearly 80 percent of the more than $24 billion in military aid appropriated to Israel during these years. Think about that the next time you see the effects of the severe budget cuts most cities and towns of America are now facing.

U.S. Needs its Own ‘Arab Spring’ to Counter Power of Pro-Israel Lobby
An interim step we can take to ease the way for congresspersons overly dependent on lobbyists and their contributions is to counter the outsized and outdated influence of AIPAC. That’s why more than 100 peace and justice groups have taken a page from the Arab playbook and launched a people-power movement of our own, called “Move Over AIPAC: Building a New Middle East Policy.” We will meet to discuss alternative views and make those views known as AIPAC convenes in Washington DC’s Convention Center.

House Newcomer Defies GOP Leaders on Israel, From the Right
For those who know him, it was no surprise when freshman Rep. Michael Grimm broke ranks with his party and became the first House Republican to call for the release of Jonathan Pollard.

The freshman member from New York has made Israel a key element of his political work. And while the Republican House leadership has thus far refrained from speaking out in favor of a commutation of Pollard’s life sentence for spying for Israel, Grimm pays small heed to political consensus.

Oh great, another traitor.

Stand Firm Against Unilateral Statehood Push
Sadly, it is doubtful that reasoned arguments such as these will sway most members of the U.N., many of which have little regard for any sort of rule of law. But those countries are not the initial audience that Israel needs to convince.

Israel must first mobilize its supporters in the United States — which include the majority of both parties in Congress. The United States needs to send a clear message that any push for Palestinian statehood at the U.N. would not only poison American relations with the Palestinians but would also serve to delegitimize the U.N. itself.

The Zionistas are getting more hysterical as the drums beat louder for a Palestinian state. Notice again who rules Congress, straight from the horse's mouth.

ABC: Ron Paul and Trump on the “Fringe”

Who's to blame for rising oil prices Speculators
So why have oil prices risen from around $36 dollars per barrel in December 2008 to $110 dollars per barrel now? And what can be done to lower them? Speculation in oil markets, which has little to do with oil demand and supply, is a key part of the problem, and it can be stemmed with several regulatory steps.

Different Views of Guantanamo by Philip Giraldi

Iran on edge as ally Syria fights for survival
Should Assad's regime fall, it could rob Iran of a loyal Arab partner in a region profoundly realigned by uprisings demanding more freedom and democracy.

From Russia, With Dire Warnings on Libya
Lavrov said that NATO’s rush to assist rebel leaders may give a dangerous message, and actually help foment civil war in other parts of the world.

Analysis: Banks Play Shell Game with Taxpayer Dollars
“This report confirms that ultra-low interest loans provided by the Federal Reserve during the financial crisis turned out to be direct corporate welfare to big banks,”

Shadow of Syrian Conflict Stretching into Lebanon

Libya: Another Neocon War
That agenda fit perfectly with the plans of Washington insiders, such as those who famously spelled out their intentions in the reports of the thinktank called the Project for the New American Century. The fierce Iraqi and Afghan resistance didn’t fit at all. Neither did the nonviolent revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt. But taking over Libya still makes perfect sense in the neoconservative worldview. And it makes sense in explaining war games used by Britain and France to simulate the invasion of a similar country.

US Senators Urge Non-Military Intervention in Syria

US treads warily in Syria, considers sanctions
Israel and its U.S. backers do not want to be seen as opposing the forces of reform sweeping the region – which have toppled autocratic rulers in Egypt and Tunisia and weakened those in Yemen, Libya, Jordan and Bahrain – particularly if they deliver a blow to Israel's archenemy, Iran.

But although Syria is despised in Israel for its close alliance with Iran and support for the Iranian proxies Hamas and Hezbollah, the Syrian leadership has meticulously enforced quiet along the countries' shared border and has expressed willingness in the past to talk peace with Israel. There is widespread worry is Israel and Washington that if Assad does not survive, any successor could be far more extreme, Islamist and belligerent.